Decision near on new winger

The Highlanders expect to make a decision by the end of the week over a replacement player for injured winger Lucky Mulipola.

Mulipola underwent surgery on Saturday night to repair a broken arm received in the clash against the Reds. The latest medical report has indicated the Highlanders winger will be out for up to 10 weeks, effectively ruling him out of the entire Super 14 season.

Team manager Greg O'Brien said from the Gold Coast yesterday they hoped to have settled on a replacement player later in the week.

‘‘We've got enough players here to cover ourselves for Saturday's game so there is no rush. ‘‘We're obviously going to have to think about that over the next few days and decide what we are going to do.''

Mulipola's injury leaves the Highlanders short on outside backs, with just two specialist wingers in the squad.

‘‘Obviously, we didn't have the extra back in our 28 originally. That's going to factor into the decision quite heavily,'' O'Brien said.

Wider squad member Ben W Smith and Crusaders wider squad member Afeleke Pelenise and sevens stars Victor Vito and Steve Yates are some of players who could come into contention as replacements.

The only other injury concern in the squad is No 8 Steve Setephano, who hurt a knee against the Reds. Ezra Taylor travelled to Australia yesterday and will come into contention for a loose forward spot against the Brumbies.

The Highlanders will train on the Gold Coast this week before heading to Canberra on Friday to meet the Brumbies on Saturday night.

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